The Pisgah cross country teams turned in solid performances at state.
The teams post a pair of Top-11 finishes in the Class 3A divisions during the AHSAA Cross Country Championships at Oakville Indian Mounds Park on Saturday.
Pisgah finished 10th in the Class 3A boys race with 281 points. St. Michael Catholic of Fairhope won the state title with a winning low score of 71.
Tanner Baine was Pisgah’s top finisher, placing 41st with a time of 18:20.71. Tristan Little followed in 68th-place (19:00.31) while Zach Cornelison was 70th (19:03.01), Mason Overdear 78th (19:14.13), Bob Johnson 98th (19:45.94), Trey Barrentine 104th (1959.20), Austin Wilson 118th (20:14.65), Jake Smith 125th (20:25.04), Holden Goff 145th (21:47.81) and Bryant Overdear 151st (22:02.48).
“The boys had the best team time we have all season,” said Pisgah head coach Gus Hembree. “I have had three boys that have been working hard to break the 20 min mark. All three were able to do that.”
Geraldine’s Collin Mayfield was the individual Class 3A state champion (16:16.50). The junior was 29 seconds faster than runner-up Paul Gonzalez (16:45.73) of J.B. Pennington.
Meanwhile, St. James of Montgomery won the Class 3A girls state championship with a team score of 60 points, 13 better than runner-up Westminster-Oak Mountain. Pisgah was 11th with 318 points.
“We beat Brindlee Mountain and Colbert Heights that were the runner-up and winner of our sectional,” Hembree said, “and placed three spots higher than we were ranked going in.”
Rhylee Bell led the Eagles with a 49th-place finish (22:39.64) while Serenity Olinger was 61st (23:08.39), Kaylynn Morgan 72nd (23:28.89), Kaylea Griffis 88th (24:08.57), Jazimine Wilson 106th (24:42.98), Ally Darwin 107th (24:43.80), Lauren Allbritton 112th (24:56.28), Lauren Peek 125th (25:15.08), Briley Hembree 143rd (26:16.12) and Korin Brock 148th (26:47.83).
Hembree was thrilled with the efforts of both Pisgah teams and the teams’ seniors.
“I had 14 of my 20 runners set a season best or personal best at the state meet,” Hembree said. “That is huge. I told the kids I’m not sure I could be happier with them if they had won state. My seniors were seniors at the state meet. They pushed their teams to our best performances of the season.”
Class 1A-2A boys
The North Sand Mountain boys cross country team’s debut in the state meet produced a strong finish.
NSM, in just its second year of competing in the sport, finished 12th in the Class 1A-2A boys race with a team score of 293. Cold Springs won the state title with a winning low score of 29, well in front of runner-up Whitesburg Christian (112).
Jayden Culpepper was NSM’s top finisher, just missing earning all-state honors (Top-15 finish) with a 17th-place finish after posting a personal-record time of 17:57.20. Lane Gamble finished 50th (19:10.75) for the Bison while Josue Luna was 53rd (19:19.08), Jorge Luna 134th (22:08.12), Jonah Slay 140th (22:39.43), Jack Case 142nd (22:50.05) and Fernando Luna 147th (23:10.42).
“The competition was very competitive,” said NSM head coach Reggie Culpepper. “The whole team did an outstanding job and ran really well, we just can up a little short. It was a great experience and hopefully something that we can build off of for next year. We only lose one senior (Jayden Culpepper), but he was the county champion so he will be hard to replace. Hopefully we can get some more kids out next year and make another run at it.”
Class 1A-2A girls
Jennifer Vega, representing Section as an individual state qualifier, posted a 32nd-place finish in the Class 1A-2A girls race.
Vega, a junior running at state for the fourth straight season, posted a time of 22:43.48.